What is the difference between Taobao and Tmall?

Many people think Taobao and Tmall are the same, but it is not quite true. This article is to help you understand the differences between Taobao and Tmall, and choose the best trading platform for your shopping through Parcel Up (Taobao FOCUS).

Taobao Marketplace – is a huge Asian online store with millions of Chinese sellers and shops, operating on a C2C system (consumer-to-consumer).

This system allows sales of goods and services between individuals. For example, Taobao acts as an intermediary (a platform) in sales between private parties (the seller as an individual and the buyer/consumer).

Taobao marketplace offers possibility for individuals to open an online shop on its website, as long as those potential sellers meet certain requirements.

Nowadays, Taobao is a rapidly developing Internet C2C platform. It takes a significant share of the global Internet market with an annual turnover of more than $15 billion.



Hence many sellers want to open their stores on Taobao Marketplace. They dream of rapid growth of their businesses. Some of them do not think about the means of achieving such goal, and sometimes there might be dishonesty in their sales.

However, this does not mean that buying on Taobao is risky. Taobao Marketplace has a special department responsible for tracking suspicious transactions and closing shops owned by unscrupulous sellers. As a result, the risks are significantly reduced.

Tаоbао Mall (Tmall) –  a trade site based on Tаоbао platform, operating on B2C system (business-to-consumer). Such trade model assumes the seller must be a legal entity (be an organization, an official manufacturer or a registered brand) offering their goods and services to end consumers – individuals.

For opening a shop on Tmall, the legal entity needs to provide all appropriate documentations to confirm reliability, genuineness and the real fact of existence of the organization, company, manufacturer or brand.  This approach eliminates the risk that an unscrupulous seller with products of dubious quality will trade on Tmall.

Taobao guarantees that all goods on Tmall are official and authentic. On each seller’s page, you can see certificates of quality and compliance.


Today there are more than 70 thousand official stores of domestic and international brands on Tmall, including Ray-Ban, Nokia, P & G, Adidas, GAP, Samsung and others. Tmall offers genuine branded products much cheaper than traditional stores.

Taobao and Tmall are not competitors. They just cater different shopping needs. If you need authentic goods with various guarantees from official sellers, then we strongly advice you to shop on Tmall. Tmall sellers put guarantee deposits on Tmall; pay and use Taobao’s quality infrastructure and logistics; invest in marketing and providing quality services, etc. There are way fewer mistakes on Tmall. Therefore prices are usually higher on Tmall than on Taobao. To save money when buying on Tmall, you can check out special sales and various promotion events with different Tmall sellers. Even without special discounts, the prices on Tmall are much lower than in usual shops.

Compared to Tmall, Taobao sellers offer a much wider choice of goods, and you can find almost anything there. If you make your purchase decision based on carefully reviewing the rating of the seller, the number of sales and customer reviews, it is possible to buy cheap quality goods on Taobao.

To shop on Taobao, you would need to consider a few things. One is that not all private sellers on Taobao have a stock of goods, and that could cause problems with exchanges or refund of nonconforming items. Second is that some sellers on Taobao can be secondhand dealers scattered all over China without infrastructure or logistics. Making purchases with them could undertake the risk of experiencing extended/delayed purchase time, ship-out period, and delivery period (parcels could also easily get lost). Those are very difficult to control and manage.

Tmall and Taobao are the dominant e-commerce platforms in China. Everyday they become more and more significant competitors for sales leaders Amazon and eBay.

Most customers on Chinese trading platforms use Alipay online payment service.

You can choose to buy on Taobao and/or Tmall. To decide between Taobao and Tmall, you just need to answer these questions: what do you want from shopping, what are your opportunities, and do you have enough experience to work with Chinese marketplaces?

Parcel Up (Taobao FOCUS) team advice always to correlate the expectations to opportunities of the trading platform chosen by you.

Parcel Up (Taobao FOCUS) service gives a maximum of attention to purchases and checking of all received goods. But it may happen that due to unfair seller, terms of processing your orders may increase.

Parcel Up (Taobao FOCUS) greatly reduces potential risks during buying and managing goods in China, because our team consists of experienced and competent Chinese buyers and logisticians.

Enjoy your shopping with Parcel Up (Taobao FOCUS).